The mobile devices are increasing in number day by day. Mobile users always demanding 100% availability, no delay in response, exceptionally user-friendly interface, smooth connectivity, and uninterrupted access to information. It is a challenge for software developers, and testers to create continuous working software that's accessible on multiple devices with provision of increasing functionality.
What are Mobile Applications
Mobile Applications are either native mobile apps or the web applications optimized to view on a mobile device. Many mobile devices exist today such as any simple mobile phone, smart phone, tablets, notebooks, wearable smart devices such as smart watches, and so forth. A mobile application tester should have good functional testing skills. Apart from that, the tester also requires skills in performance, security, and usability testing.
Lifecycle Models of Mobile Applications
V- Model, Waterfall Model are very less likely to be used in mobile app development. Risk based Testing is a crucial approach followed in mobile application development. As the releases are quite frequent, there is never enough time to test everything.
As per ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) standards, "Testing is context dependent”. Every application has its usage context. Though the functionality may be same, the risk factors of different apps will be different as it depends on the usage of the application. Thus, testing a mission critical application will be different from testing an entertainment application.
The documentation in mobile app testing is generally kept minimal, so that the testing can be kept lightweight. There may be requirement specification documents, use cases, or user stories. The tester should plan the work on use case level to better understand the usage of application, and test accordingly.
Mobile Application Testing Challenges
The mobile users expect the applications to be easy to use, and have zero tolerance to downtime. The testers face many challenges while testing the mobile application. With the competitive mobile applications market, the mobile applications are released very frequently. This becomes a challenge for testers to meet the time demands, as well as the expectations of mobile features, usability, and performance. Another challenge faced by testers is the compatibility of the mobile apps. The users want the applications to work on all devices, and each device in IOT. The data should be easily available and transferred between the devices with no loss. The compatibility and portability of the mobile apps depends on how the app is developed and deployed.
Types of Mobile Applications
Native Mobile Applications: The applications built for a specific device such as Android native application.
Hybrid Mobile Applications: Hybrid apps are built to support different platforms using plug ins. These apps are more portable than native apps, but may still have compatibility issues.
Mobile Web Applications: These applications are generally web sites which have a mobile version used by the mobile device.
Test Planning and Design
Identify Scope of Testing
The tester should understand the important attributes of the application such as security, performance, or usability. These should be prioritized, as It will help the tester to determine the risk levels, and evaluate the time, effort, and the type of testing required for different areas of the applications. Of course, this will need investment in tools, and time and resources from stakeholders.
The tester can identify risks based on usage of the application such as entertainment, safety critical, etc. Risk Analysis is conducted by light weight methods. The tester identifies the physical features such as buttons, display, rotation, and the functional features of the application such as an appointment booking function to prioritize them as high, medium, or low.
The test coverage is important to set the timelines, environmental needs, and equipment needs for testing. A tester with help of test manager to determine the test coverage by assessing the requirements, risks, functionality, code, devices, user Perspective, and many more attributes.
A test approach can be written in a form of a test plan, or as a project plan. A proper test approach is decided by evaluation criteria of testing results, schedule of testing, scope of testing, industry, context of testing, and environmental conditions.
Test Conditions and Test Scope
Due to the fast paced releases in mobile application development, designing of test cases may not be feasible. Therefore, the test conditions are identified and prioritized based on the risk assessment. These test conditions are then tested thoroughly in the set timelines. With identification, and prioritization of test conditions the scope of testing is defined. It achieves some level of coverage. So, the testing is said to be complete when the time is over, and the coverage is optimum.
Regression Testing is critical for mobile applications. Since the mobile applications are constantly improving in terms of features and supported devices, so regression testing is conducted using test automation, simulators and device labs.
To summarize, we can say as the number of devices, Internet of things is exploding, so is the scope of Mobile Application Testing expanding. Test Automation, and Tool Support are helping to keep up with this pace.